Arts and Entertainment
 

Producers are scrambling to make 'gran-coms' for older audiences

Warner Bros is shelving The Maccabees, and writer Joe Eszterhas wrote a nine-page letter to Mel Gibson giving his detailed opinion on why the plug was pulled

Film dumped but Hollywood make 'Mad Mel' sequel

For two decades, Mel Gibson was at the top of the Hollywood tree. Building on his successes as an actor, he won an Oscar in 1996 for directing Braveheart and routinely commanded salaries of more than $20 million.

Lucas has been trying to build the studios in San Francisco for 25 years

The final episode: George Lucas bows to protests and pulls plug on film studio plans

The George Lucas empire is striking back after giving up its 25-year battle to build a palatial film studio in the pastoral hills north of San Francisco.

Lucky Break, By Esther Freud

Three characters, perfectly cast

Dom Joly: On with the motley – it's time to fool Britannia

I'm just getting ready to start annoying the people of Britain with my new TV show, Fool Britannia. We start filming in a couple of weeks, so preparation is well under way. Things have changed since I last dipped my toe into the world of hidden camera. We used to just wander into work in the morning, have a "bit of a think" and then decide what we were going to film. Maybe I would spot a milkman and mutter, "Oh, we haven't done anything with a milkman character." So we'd then drive up to a costume house, such as Angels, and root around for a milkman costume. Once we'd got this it would be nearly time for lunch – so we'd find somewhere for a nice, two-hour Continental-style break. And, hopefully, over the meal we would have come up with an idea for what to do with the milkman.

Alison Steadman: 'A gang of lads saw me and shouted "Pamela!" It really gave me a thrill'

I was proud to be involved in the first lesbian kiss on TV It was in 1974 in a BBC play called Girl, with Myra Frances, and it got a lot of reaction at the time. Then, when Brookside came on years later, people said "Ooh, Anna Friel did this kiss with another woman, and it was the first time on TV." And I'm like, no, actually it was me!

Rampling says: 'The only way life is interesting to me - and I'm in a particular profession where I can do this - is to jump off the cliff. This is what excites me.'

Charlotte Rampling: 'I've lived with fear all my life'

She has never been afraid to bare her soul on screen – but talking about the anxieties that led to a very public breakdown has not been easy for Charlotte Rampling. Which only makes her new film all the more intriguing...

Sean Penn's unsuspected comic talents give Sorrentino's film its lightness of touch

This Must Be the Place, Paolo Sorrentino (15)

The normally straight-laced actor is a hoot as an aimless, ageing rock star who finds redemption pursuing a Nazi war criminal in this strange, warm and humorous take on the road movie

Between the Covers 08/04/2012

Your weekly guide to what's really going on inside the world of books

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson - 'A sex symbol? Flattering, but I don't think so'

With five films out this year, Hollywood disagrees with Liam Neeson's view he might be past his sell-by date. The chatty star of Schindler's List tells Gill Pringle about his new nautical role – and the time he serenaded Paul McCartney with a Beatles medley...

Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

The dark side of the money men

Little has changed since Vincente Minnelli's tale of a brutal producer

Both films portray Joseph Kony of the LRA as a brutal warlord

Kony 2: Sequel to video that went viral receives its online premiere

It was one of the most successful viral campaign videos ever, supported by A-list celebrities and drawing praise for making the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), globally notorious.

Director of 'Shakespeare Must Die' Ing Kanjanavanit holds up a DVD the banned movie

Hubble bubble, Macbeth's in trouble as Thailand bans film

Film censors in Thailand have stepped in to ban a film based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth, claiming it could inflame political tensions.

The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists (U) / Wrath of the Titans (12A) (4/5, 2/5)

Voices: Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Brian Blessed

Tabucchi: 'Like a comet I've traversed infinite nights,' he wrote

Antonio Tabucchi: Novelist who became a fierce critic of Berlusconi

Antonio Tabucchi was a leading Italian novelist, intellectual, academic and columnist, widely known to his countryman as a ferocious critic of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. He regularly accused Mr Berlusconi of using his political power to further his own interests. He was also an internationally-renowned expert and professor of the literature of Portugal, which he considered his second home and where he died of cancer aged 68.

Last Night's Viewing: I Never Said Yes, BBC3<br />The Apprentice, BBC1

I don't know what the demographic overlap is between Independent readers and the BBC3 audience, but if you haven't been watching you might be interested to learn that the Corporation's most frivolous channel has also built an impressive record for bringing serious social issues to a younger audience. It has produced reality formats that illuminate the true cost of the cheap goods we enjoy, it's used pop presenters to explore foreign affairs and it's done thoughtful documentaries about disability issues in which disabled people serve as reporters, not just the passive subject matter. This week alone you could have watched a drama documentary about an inner-city murder on Monday, Reggie Yates exploring the world of teen gangs on Tuesday and, last night, Pips Taylor's I Never Said Yes, a documentary about the worrying gap between reported rapes and convictions. And unfortunately the last of these was an example of how good intentions aren't all you need.

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
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McKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
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people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
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Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

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news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker